3 principles to keep your pipeline full and routinely attract the right clients

Are you finding it hard to attract your ideal clients?

A lot of consultants get absorbed in running the business and find themselves stuck working with some clients just to pay the bills.

Now this is a very normal situation to be in – small consulting business owners are strapped for time and have to wear many hats.

But to break out of this vicious cycle and grow your brand, it’s important to take control of the situation.

In this article I share three principles to make this change happen – all of which underpin an effective marketing approach.

1/ Be proactive and take action into your own hands

It’s all too common to set up a website and hope that the right clients will come knocking on our door.

But unfortunately hope is not an effective strategy and we can’t expect clients to magically find us.

The first principle to adopt is to have a proactive mindset and be accountable for making things happen.

No one else is going to promote your business for you, so it really is all down to you.

So instead of waiting for clients to come to you, we must look at the proactive activities we can do to go to them.

Whether that’s starting more 1-1 conversations with prospects using direct outreach, or going to networking events, we need to take responsibility for our actions and understand that we get out what we put in.

2/ Continuously market your services

Now this is something that a lot of expert service providers get wrong.

We fall into the trap of only making time to market our services when client work is running dry.

But by this point it’s often too late.

The marketing efforts you put in today are unlikely to have an immediate effect – they usually pay off in future months.

And it requires a constant effort to keep the momentum going.

So we need to get ahead of the curve and continuously promote our services.

Because when you need that new project, you will have already done the hard work upfront.

You may be thinking “what if I already have too much work – do I still need to market my services?”.

The answer is YES!

Having more leads than you can fulfil is the driving force behind a strong and profitable service business.

It enables you to:

  • feel more confident about your offering and market fit
  • be selective about the clients you work with, and
  • routinely increase your prices

What I’m going to say now is counterintuitive, but the best mindset to adopt is to prioritise your marketing and business development activities over your client work.

And remember, consistent efforts lead to consistent results.

3/ Focus your efforts and resources

As I touched on at the beginning of this article, small consulting business owners are spread thin and responsible for many roles.

Because our time is sparse, it’s critical that we don’t try and do too much.

It’s much better to do a few marketing activities to a high standard rather than spinning too many plates.

For example, just because marketing gurus say you need to be on every single social media platform, doesn’t mean it is applicable to a business of your size.

It’s better to pick one or two channels initially – so start small and build up to it.

Identify the marketing activities you can carry out on a routine basis and integrate these tasks into your daily/weekly schedule.

For example, I wanted to be more active on LinkedIn but I didn’t dive straight into posting three times per week right off the bat.

Initially I posted once a week and gradually built it up as the habit became further ingrained.

By focusing your time on the things that count, you'll get a much better return on investment.

Conclusion and action point

To routinely attract the right clients and keep your pipeline full, follow these principles:

  • Be proactive and take action into your own hands. Don't wait for clients to come to you – promote your business actively and take responsibility for your marketing efforts.
  • Continuously market your services. Don't wait until you run out of client work. Start now and consistently promote your offering to build a strong pipeline for the future.
  • Focus your efforts and resources. Don't try to do too much at once. Identify a few key marketing activities that align with your goals and integrate them into your routine.

If you are on board with these concept but aren’t sure where to start, here are your action steps:

  1. Decide which service you are looking to promote
  2. Identify your best clients (the people who you enjoy working with and greatly value the outcome the service enables)
  3. Plan your marketing activities – how are you going to reach the target audience?
  4. Execute the activities on a routine basis and give it at least a few months before you experiment with other tactics